Woke up in the morning and heard about the raccoon at our campsite. Don had heard him at night and had tried to chase him away. The little rascal came back when Don went back to bed. I was, as usual, oblivious to what was happening. I quickly packed up my bags and loaded everything on the bike. It took about an hour to do that. Discovered that to set up my tent takes about 30 mins at night but repacking everything takes longer. Maybe this is why other racers don’t carry a tent. After packing up my bags I asked Don to meet me at the gas station. He was still putting away stuff and would need a little time. Got to the gas station and got a cup of coffee. Again to figure out what to eat for breakfast seemed to be painful. It’s only the 2nd day and it’s already hard to find decent food to eat. Coming from India where we have lots of vegetarian options of breakfast it’s harder here. I have never eaten meat for breakfast in any form. Okay, maybe that’s a lie. I’ve always enjoyed crispy bacon. Got a sandwich and drank a cup of coffee. Charged my phone and got ready to leave. Don hadn’t left the campsite yet and I figured he would catch up sometime later.

Somewhere during the day on the hills

The ride was super scenic. Andrew reminded me that the pass would close if I didn’t get to the base of the mountain by 6 am the next day. So it looked like a super long day. Rode for a while and went through a forest of sorts. Super quiet with almost no traffic. It’s hard riding alone. It’s been a while since I rode by myself. There’s lots of chatter and it’s hard to ignore. Over time it should go away. Rode till lunch. As usual the debate on what to eat started. Just grabbed something but didn’t like it one bit. Turns out I am not cut out to eat processed crap. I haven’t seen vegetables in a while. Need some in my diet quickly. After a bunch of climbs I reached a casino in the middle of nowhere. It’s called Spirit Mountain and was beautiful. Met a couple of touring cyclists and chatted with them for a bit. They were from Netherlands and were taking a day off at the mountain.

The bike path that ran next to the road towards near Manmouth. These bike path are lovely

They had 6 months time in which to go from the West to East. Would have been nice to stop and play a few hands at the casino but I dint have the time nor the money for that. Hard decisions to make while travelling on a wafer-thin budget.

Lunch stop

Started to ride and immediately the rain followed. A few minutes later rain turned into hail. Small pieces of ice hitting you isn’t nice when you are on a bike. I had taken off my helmet the previous day since I hate wearing it. Quickly reinstated it so that I wouldn’t get hit on the head. Proceeded towards the town of Monmouth. There was a bike path that took you towards the town. It’s super nice to have a bike path. For once I did not have to worry about riding on the right side of the road. I could stop and take in the sights. Stopped at the gas station and got a ping from Micheal who found a hotel room for himself and asked if I needed a place to stay.

Abandoned factories near Manmouth

I was thinking of riding to Mckenzie Bridge but the offer was too good to resist. Went to meet him at the hotel. While getting there noticed a Mexican place and stopped by to get a burrito. Saw that Micheal had gotten one too. It was as big as my arm. Super nice and spicy, just the way I like it. Went to the hotel and chatted with Micheal for a bit before he went to bed. He is raising money so that he can buy 30 chrome books for the kids at the school he is teaching at. A few years ago he took a leap of faith and quit his job in IT to work as a school teacher. I was telling about the no trespassing boards everywhere that I saw and he was telling me about how he is trying to teach the kids in school  to be a little more welcoming rather than be like the people who put up those boards. He is one of those people who sleep early and wake up early. Super nice of him to offer a spare bed for free. Went in to have a shower and realized that I didn’t have a towel. Turns out I hadn’t bought one as planned. While Bowlek and I had gone to buy towels we met a racer who told me to use my t-shirt as a towel. I listened to him then but now think that I should have just bought the damn towel. Racers and tourers are different types of people. Thankfully, the hotel provided me with one. With that situation solved I went in to have a shower and discovered that I didn’t know how to turn the shower one. Tried pulling and pushing everything in the bath tub but that didn’t work. The lever that turns the shower on was missing. Couldn’t ask Micheal since he was sleeping. Had to use the bath tub to have a bath.

A nice quiet piece of road with no cars or people. Need a few more of these

Just as I finished my bath I got a ping from a racer who was close by. He was heading to Coburg and wanted to know if I needed a place to stay there. Would have been nice to ride a little more and get closer to Mckenzie. Went out to meet him at the Mexican restaurant and saw Don with him. They were going to ride a little more since LE had a place booked at Coburg, Oregon. He had 4 beds and was happy to let me use it. Told him that I had a place to sleep and was already settled in. Don was going to ride a little more and would find a place to sleep. They started riding and I went back to the hotel to go to bed. Don wanted to stay with us but since Micheal was sleeping couldn’t ask him. I heard later that when they reached Corvalis Don had found a church and gone to sleep there while LE went on to Coburg. Don had caught up with LE at the Spirit Mountain and these guys had ridden at 32 km/h to the Mexican place. They had killed it. They got done riding at about 1 am. Looks like none of us are going to make the Mckenzie Pass before it closes and we would need to take the alternate route. That’s not a good sign but it is what it is. Also I heard that Don had gotten lost the previous day and did a loop before he discovered that it wasn’t part of the map. He now has learnt to listen to his phone ding while riding. That’s progress since he just got a smart phone and is figuring out how to use it.

Mike and I just before we left in the morning

Lesson for the Day : Mexican food could be the answer to my food problems, but is expensive.

Up next : Day 3